Daniel Thomas was back to work Wednesday, the first day the Dolphins started full practice preparation for the New York Jets game. After missing the previous week's victory over Oakland due to a concussion, Thomas was totally and completely cleared.
He practiced full.
But he did not step right back into all his repetitions at practice.
This week, you see, Thomas finds himself in a battle for the No. 2 running back spot on the team with rookie Lamar Miller. Miller replaced Thomas last Sunday and not only did the job, but actually seemed to do the job better.
Thomas had gained 11 yards on three attempts against Houston in the season-opener. He added a reception for 32 yards. That's 33 total yards from scrimmage from the second running back. Not bad.
But Miller had 65 yards on 10 rushes against Oakland (a whopping 6.5 yards per carry). Miller contributed a 19-yard touchdown run that showed his explosion now and promise for the future. He didn't factor in the passing game, but neither did he seem lost on passing downs, which is the major worry about rookie RBs when they are assigned to block blitzers on passing downs.
So what to do with the No. 2 RB spot now?
You can't just reward Miller for a fine outing by shelving him. You can't really hand Thomas his job back without him proving he's 100 percent and better than the next option, which is Miller.
So you have a mini competition and whoever does the best work over the week probably gets the snaps on Sunday. And that is what's happening now.